‛God Said Give ’Em Drum Machines’ Gets Detroit Premiere at Freep Film Festival

The Aug. 25 screening is being presented by the filmmakers, Freep Film Festival, the Sean Anderson Foundation, The Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan, and Michigan Science Center

“God Said Get ’Em Drum Machines” teaser poster.

“God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines” is a vibrant and nostalgic music documentary that showcases the beginnings of techno music and how Detroit turned into the creative and cultural hub for the creation and development of these beats. This lively exploration takes viewers from Detroit to Chicago to London and Berlin, tracing techno’s origins in the African American community. Focusing on the talent of a group of young Black artists — including Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, Blake Baxter, Eddie Fowlkes and Santonio Echols — “God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines” is a compelling, rarely showcased history of mismanaged success, damaged friendships, ascendant beats and raw inspiration. The film details how the innovation and artistry of these Detroit musicians led to one of the most celebrated and profitable genres in the world.

“At that time, Detroit was on the brink of bankruptcy.  All the news I was hearing about my hometown while living in Los Angeles was bad,” says Detroit-native and producer, Jennifer Washington. “I wanted to do my part to help change the city’s image in the media.  I wanted the world to know how vibrant and beautiful my city was.  More importantly, here we are with yet another original American artform that was built on the backs of Black artists – just like with the Blues, Jazz, and Rock and Roll.  For the most part techno music was popularized in Europe and beyond leaving Americans without much of a connection to it.  So, we set out to set the record straight for Black youth and to empower future generations.”

“God Said Get ’Em Drum Machines” movie poster.

The Michigan Premiere

Those who secured advance tickets should arrive by 6:45 p.m. (15 minutes before showtime). After that time, seats may be given to other attendees.

This film screening is being presented in partnership between the filmmakers, Freep Film Festival, the Sean Anderson Foundation, The Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan, and Michigan Science Center. It is part of Big Sean’s Detroit’s On Now (DON) Weekend, which is presenting a variety of events throughout Detroit Aug. 25-27. More info about DON Weekend can be found here.

“Our Team is thrilled to present ‛God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines’ to the people of Detroit. The Michigan Science Center screening will provide an incredible opportunity to share the origins of Techno with Detroit youth who will most benefit from learning the valuable musical history of their city,” Jennifer Washington, the film’s executive producer, said.


The documentary, directed by Detroit filmmaker Kristian R. Hill, made its world premiere at New York’s prestigious Tribeca Festival last June.

“God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines” Director Kristian R. Hill.

The Detroit red-carpet debut, presented by Freep Film Festival, will include simultaneous screenings on two theaters at the Michigan Science Center, along with a post-film Q&A. Free tickets for the Aug. 25 showings are available to the public at the fest website.

“The story of the rise — and struggles — of Detroit’s techno pioneers is essential viewing for anyone who cares about the music history of the Motor City — or turn-of-the-century music culture in general,” said Steve Byrne, Freep Film Festival’s executive director. “The festival first met with the filmmakers about five years ago, when the movie was still in production, and we’ve been anticipating its arrival ever since. So we’re super excited to be part of a hometown premiere in the city where the music was born.”

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